The Ombudsman Program serves to:
- advocate on behalf of long-term care facility residents
- to uphold residents' rights, and to
- address quality of care and quality of life issues.
Long-term care facilities are defined as nursing homes and adult care homes.
The Ombudsman Program mandate is to:
- investigate and work to resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents in long-term care facilities
- educate people about their rights and the rules and regulations governing long-term care facilities
- provide training and technical assistance to Community Advisory Committees (appointed volunteers in NC) and long-term care facilities
- work with long-term care providers to resolve issues of concern
- promote community involvement with long-term care facilities and residents
- collect and analyze data about complaints
- act as mediators when residents have difficulty exercising their rights
- provide information to the public agencies, legislators, and the general public on issues affecting long-term care
The Ombudsmen monitor the implementation of federal, state and local laws governing long-term care facilities.
This program works through an advocacy network consisting of the state Ombudsman, regional Ombudsmen, and local Community Advisory Committee volunteers or grassroots ombudsmen (in NC). These advocates give long-term care facility residents and their families a voice, and attempt to resolve problems and concerns through mediation, education, and information. They function as a neutral third party to resolve issues related to Resident’s Rights.
The Ombudsmen also work to educate the public, residents, family members and facility staff regarding elder abuse prevention, detection, and reporting requirements.
Bottom line, the Ombudsmen can help a caregiver with:
The Ombudsman Program is available nationwide. Each state has a state Ombudsman and most states have regional Ombudsmen as part of the Area Agencies on Aging.
In addition to assisting you with Residents' Rights and problem resolution, the Ombudsmen can provide information to assist you as you evaluate facilities as a potential home for your family member.
The ombudsmen are not allowed to recommend a particular facility to individuals. However, they can assist with information on how to evaluate a facility and where to find that information.
The ideal situation is that a facility is chosen after investigation has shown that the facility provides quality care, is affordable, and is convenient to family members. The reality does not always follow the ideal. However, anyone thinking about placement in a long-term care facility should, at the very least, investigate the quality of care provided at a facility.
Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are governed by different rules and regulations. Check with your Ombudsman to find our what agencies provide oversight and monitoring for compliance with federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations.
Typically, reviewers make unannounced visits to all these facilities and "grade" their care performance against predetermined standards for quality. These reports are available to the public and the latest report should be posted in the facility in a location that is easily accessible and the report should be easy to read. There are also locations to review some of these reports online.
Additionally, it is important to personally visit a facility to evaluate what it might be like to live there. We offer guidance and checklists related to these needed visits. For NC residents, we also offer online links to posted facility review information. Check with your Ombudsman program to determine what online information is available in your state.
Nursing Home Facility Information, Links, and Checklist